Friday, March 29, 2013

The Go Between

"Lift high the cross!"

Lift high the Cross! I can almost hear my grandpa bellowing this hymn from when I was a child. Why lift it? Why does it matter? Oh, sisters it matters very much indeed! And we can get a better sense of this at Mass.

At the Mass Christ is offered to God the Father as a perpetual offering. It may seem to us that the priest is offering the Body and Blood of Christ to the people, but he is not. He is offering Him to God to atone for the sins of mankind. We are invited to participate in this one eternal sacrifice; to give ourselves and our lives and every suffering and every worry and our weaknesses and our hopes and joys and thanks......When the priest holds up Christ in the Holy Eucharist it is the moment in time and eternity when Christ was lifted up! The actual Gift is held up suspended between Heaven and Earth to be a perpetual gift to The Father for mankind. It is the Cross made manifest! It is the strength that keeps us from being overcome by evil....It is our promised triumph.  At Mass we are to follow the priest, who leads the offering to God the Father through Jesus Christ. By keeping our minds and eyes on the image of the crucified we enter more deeply in the sacrificial meaning and action of the Mass and be lead to full participation in the Mass.

"Behold the wood of the Cross" - "Come let us adore." 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Press On with Christ

 The Catholic Church has been likened to a Ship many times. And in St. Don Bosco's dream he saw the ship with the Pope at the helm leading the way through danger and perils on every side. He was leading many other boats that were following the Ship to safety.

Many times we find ourselves confused and fighting off perils from every angle. It gets overwhelming very quickly. Fear and distress increase. But when a ship cannot find direction in fog, it looks for the beacon of light from the lighthouse. This beacon is what keeps the Catholic Church progressing without being overcome by danger. This beacon is Jesus Christ in the Sacraments of the Church. Not only are these life giving Sacraments for the Church at large, but for each little one of us. For the rich and the poor, for leaders and servants, for children and parents. No one is kept back from being able to receive the Living God in the Sacraments, we keep ourselves back.

So next time you find yourself overwhelmed with worry or fear, make time to spend much time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, seek out confession to clear your heart and soul, and give yourself and your concerns over to God. He will lead you and show you the path of light.

On this Holy Thursday, let us thank God for the riches of the Church...for we have the Living God available to us to meet in His Sacraments so He may live in us! Praise God for our priests, bishops and Pope...and for all his little ones!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Seek out the poor

Pope Francis message for Wednesday of Holy Week.

Click on the link above to read his address. If you have an iPhone or iPad you can download the Pope App to follow the Pope and his messages easily.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Messages from far away

"Stay close to God
And Talk to Him
And He will provide"
Lucia DeMarco

I do not expect any of you to know this woman's name. But she is one of the many we do not see that are home bound and offers up all her sufferings and prayers to God all day long for many souls. She was an old neighbor of ours that my children and I had the honor of getting to know mostly by going to mass at the same parish. She is still living but suffers greatly from arthritis and other ailments that she sees no point in talking about...out of pure humility and a desire to talk of the finer things in life like how great God blesses us.

I had the gift of her phone call today, which she does on rare occasions. Usually to ask how the kids are and to thank me for a Christmas card and picture of the kids. This woman is doing the hard labor of love in her prayers and is a treasure to converse with. Also, she always offers a piece of motherly wisdom in the midst of our conversations. Today, I must pass her wisdom onto you all.

She says this: Money is not the first priority. I always tell my familia (she is Italian) to pray God just gives them the necessities and the means to be able to provide the necessity. Nothing more. Too many toady do not think that way and they are not happy. She then mentioned she likes the new Pope because he calls us to be poor. He remembers the poor. Our world and its economic problems are bad, we need to learn and live that money is not the most important thing. She declines allowing her family to hook up cable TV in her home because she says the money would be better to give to the poor or to her family to put food on the table. She than said the above quote which is best to repeat again and to share tonight in our families:

Stay close to God and talk to Him
And He will provide.

We all need to re-prioritize! Beginning with our families and ourselves. God help us! Mercy!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Take cover!

Pray that more mothers gain back the instinct of motherhood.
Advice from a local priest.

I have a new steam cleaner that allows me to clean without much effort nor with chemicals. It is especially helpful to keep my microwave clean. I steam the inside and wipe it clean. Why do I say this today? Well, as I went to heat up a messy plate of food, out of laziness I was not going to cover it. I realized that my new clean microwave would get splattered, so I covered the plate to protect the cleanliness of the oven. Thanks to my mother-in-law, I have plenty of covers, (she notices I rarely have a clean microwave oven and saw I needed to be able to cover my food.) So, using one of her covers I now am eating my food with a clean microwave to boot!

Then it dawned on me, this is what moms are called to do day in and day out. Part of our vocation is to keep clean the clean, and clean the unclean. This includes keeping clean the innocent children from the messiness of the world. Not only do we give them to the tools to keep their bodies clean, but we need to cover them with the mantle of prayer and mercy. We need to teach them truth and God's laws to also give them the tools to choose cleanliness of soul as well. We cannot use the poison of the world to guide our children, no, we must use the coverage of the Church and Her Sacraments and prayer and the practice of virtue to do this. We need to keep out the evils of the world from our homes with the coverage of Faith!

A friend of mine years ago told me of a dream she had that I have never forgotten. If memory serves
me well, it went like this: she was in a storm traveling I think in the desert and the weather was getting fierce. She then saw the Blessed Mother who pulled open her mantle and invited her "little child" to come under for shelter. When she entered her mantle there were thousands of sheep under her mantle too! And the Blessed Mother said, " see my child, I protect all my sheep."

Seek shelter under the cover of Our Lady, and bring your little ones there too through prayer, 
teaching them the faith, and living the Sacraments of Christ's Church.

Eliminate the obstacles set by the world that wants to splatter her ways all over our families
With constant trust in God and a life of virtue!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Call of Motherhood Begins at the Fourth Station

Jesus meets His Mother

I have a son who is beginning to look at colleges and plans for after school. I am having a really hard time with not leading too much. Allowing Him to go his own way without much more of my guidance is very hard. I must be struggling with my own expectations as to what he could do with his life and with my fears of what the world may do to him. I think of things I should have done in h opes to Bette prepare him to live a life committed to God and not society. I get concerned over saying too much or not enough. Then my priest offered me some advice....pray and trust God. But prayer takes on a deeper dimension.

The other day while praying the Stations, I came to the fourth where Jesus meets His Mother.  It was the first time where I saw her possibly communicating a desire to go with Him, to suffer with Him. Before I saw only pain, but now it became a union of wills. It is only then we begin to see the remaining stations where others were compelled to journey with Christ. Simeon was forced, but tradition tells us his family ends up being converts to the faith; Veronica has the courage to wipe the sore face of Christ with her veil; the mother's weeping.... Under the first movement by the Blessed Mother joining her sufferings with her Son, others followed. We too must join and follow.

Giving up our hopes and expectations of our children is not easy. What we think we see in their being  is probably not what is true. Even as moms, we do not see their heart and soul. As part of being moms, is to let go and let their Creator take complete control! Oh, how hard this must have been for Mary! But she went to her Son in His Agony and did not leave Him, but instead gave her sufferings with and through Him. This is nothing short from what mothers must do.

As we approach the eighth station we see the mothers and children weeping. The Passion reading today at Mass included this verse. Christ tells them to pray for this generation and their children. Here we are invited into a mystery. An invitation to follow the example of the Blessed Mother in being intercessors for our children and the generation we live in... For what else is prayer but a laying down of oneself for the sake of another?!  Putting aside our comfort, our ideas, our passions, in order to live a life of virtue and mercy and sacrifice. This is the Cross of Motherhood and we must strive to live it well....our children and this generation need us.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Prayer is first!

"... prayer is the main way to attain full communion 
since if we are united in our orientation to the Lord we are on our way to unity. "         
 -Benedict XVI

As we welcome in our next Pope how came out to greet the people in such a prayerful manner, I share this profound statement by Benedict XVI to encourage us all to never neglect prayer.
Never neglect laying oneself before God as his servant.

God bless Pope Francis!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Outstretched arm

"For remember that you too were once slaves in Egypt, and The Lord, your God, brought you from there with his strong hand and outstretched arm. That is why The Lord, your God, has commanded you to oberve the sabbath day."
Deuteronomy 5:15

In the days before we had to wear sat belts, I remember whenever my mom would have to come to a quick stop, her right arm would fly across the passenger side and stop whomever is in the seat. Being a little kid, it sometimes hurt. She was and is a very good driver, but this is one safety action she would do. It was a reflex of some sort. It is funny looking back on it. But she was doing what she could in order to protect us from harm.

 I thought of these times when someone reaches their arm out while reading the above Old Testament reading.  17 times in Scripture the phrase "outstreached arm" is used, all in the Old Testament. And once in the New Teatament it says "uplifted arm" found in Acts 13: 17-18.  It is not a coinsidence that the Holy Spirit expresses these words in Scripture. I am not qualified to get into an expert explanation on these words, but I will say this:

The Old Testament once again was foreshadowing th great and biggest event in the saving of souls from evil. First God outstretched His arm to save His people from the slavery of Egypt, next Christ Himslef followed and outstretched His arms to hold back evil in orde to save souls from the slavery of sin. And in both of these cases, along with the times of my mom's arm stretching out, the one needing saving is unaware of the danger they are in. But seeing what we need saving from they "outstretch their arms" in hopes to save us.

So many times I try to help my kids from falling, and so many times I have been the ungrateful child not appreciating or being aware of what my parents have done for me. Let us all not forget the work of these loved ones, but most of all let us not forget what God has done for us. We are blessed as Catholics to have this eternal sacrifice offered for us to partake in at every Mass. For His outstretched arm was not for one time, but for eternity, until He comes again. Allow Our Lord to save you by laying your worries and concerns on His altar. His arms are ready and have actually already saved just need to allow Him.

"Bless The Lord, my soul; do not forget all the gifts of God,
Who pardons all your sins, heals all your ills
Delivers your life from the pit,
Surrounds you with love and compassion..."
Psalm 103: 2-4

Friday, March 8, 2013

The key

"It is not by sidestepping or fleeing from suffering that we are healed, but rather by our capacity for accepting it, maturing through it and finding meaning through union with Christ, who suffered with infinite love. "                                                                                  -Benedict XVI

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Lay it down without a frown!

"Today is holy to The Lord your God. Do not be sad and do not weep;
For today is holy to our Lord.
Do not be saddened this day, 
for rejoicing in The Lord must be your strength!
See Nehemiah 8:9, 10

God is so wonderfully wise. He knows our needs before we are aware of them, or ever aware of them. His wisdom is beyond our comprehension, but he allows us to glimpse tiny pieces of his perfectly ordered ways in order to foster in us the gift of praise. Start by praising him especially in your difficulties, for he brings good out of every situation if we give it to him and trust. We can either carry our difficulties on our own, or give them to Christ on the Cross who has transformed suffering into a gift of salvation. I praise God for this wonderful truth for I am crushed if I carry my burdens alone. His wisdom of the necessity we each have in needing to have our sufferings and sins transformed is beyond any human explanation. So we must give it all to him and trust...

No matter your difficulties this day, instead of complaining, force a smile and tell God the list of things you are thankful for, be it ever so small.  Take it frequently to the Holy Mass and lay it on the altar of eternity where it becomes one with Christ's offering to the Father. Trust and keep a thankful heart.

Rejoice in The Lord! 
For He gave us His Son to transform us!